No cash for fee reimbursements.

To keep the fee reimbursement scheme going, about Rs 3,500 crore is required this academic year (2011-12), but the BC and social welfare department has only Rs 150 crore. The state budget has a provision of Rs 2,950 crore for the scheme under which the fees of students from socially and economically weak backgrounds, studying in professional colleges, are paid by the government. Of this, Rs 2,800 crore went towards paying the arrears of the previous academic year (2010-11).

With four months left for the current academic year to end, the government has not released a single rupee for the scheme. College managements have consequently started collecting fees from students with the assurance that it will be refunded after the government pays up. But those who cannot afford to pay are not being allowed to attend classes and have been told they will not be able to sit for the exams either.

This has left some 20 lakh students in the lurch. It is taking shelter behind the recent HC direction to implement a common fee for convenor and management quota seats in engineering colleges. While the higher education department is busy fighting the legal battle in the SC against this order of the High Court, the future of over 20 lakh students is in jeopardy.

“The government is still in the process of accepting online applications for fee reimbursement from freshers who took admission this year. After that, it will conduct verification of each and every student college-wise to determine eligibility. The government will release the tuition fee only after it completes the process. No one knows how long this will take,” said Dr P. Rajeshwar Reddy, general secretary, Consortium of Engineering Colleges Managements Association of AP (CECMA). If this is the case with freshers, officials are clueless about the release of tuition fee for seniors.

“There is no need for the government to conduct verification again for seniors who are pursuing second and third year,” said Mr R. Krishnaiah, president, AP Backward Classes Welfare Association.

Source : Deccan Chronicle

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